Testing your uBITx using the Reverse Beacon Network

Rob AG5OV says, “If you are like me and not having a lot of luck with SSB QSO due to the recent crappy conditions or want to debug your apparent low voice output the Reverse Beacon Network can come to the rescue.

“RBN listens for CW CQ’s and reports who heard them.  For the uBITX you can add in Ian’s (KD8CEC) wonderful firmware and even without a key you can send a message via the Automatic Key Memory function and see both who can hear you and what your uBITX output actually is under ideal conditions.”

What Rob did:

  1. Installed Ian’s (KD8CEC) firmware (1.04) http://www.hamskey.com/
  2. Downloaded the Ian’s Memory Manager http://www.hamskey.com/
  3. Edited the Auto CW memory to “TEST DE <YOURCALLSIGN> TEST DE <YOURCALLSIGN> #” (the # is the prosign for AR)
  4. If the TX/RX delay isn’t high enough you will flop back and forth with annoying clicks when you aren’t interactive anyways, I set mine to 1000ms and 400ms.
  5. Tuned to the CW/Data area of a band and set to either CWL or CWU
  6. Select Auto CW
  7. Push the PTT to send it
  8. Look yourself up on RBN http://www.reversebeacon.net/

What he discovered is interesting.  He was being heard and maxing out at about 1.2a @ 12.0v on CW compared to his 800ma @ 12v for voice (while “eating” the mic.

He has figured out that, besides conditions, the audio input side of the world is letting him down.  He has ordered an assortment of 1206 SMD resistors and a package of replacement electret mics (both from Amazon) to see if he can fix the problem.  We will be waiting to hear the results.